DigitalCity and Teesside University are a vital catalyst for the growth of the Tees Valley tech sector, according to a new report.
DigitalCity 2018 – Powering Business Growth in our Region has been published by the university to showcase how it is supporting the economic regeneration of the Tees Valley by driving innovation and growth through digital technology.
It follows the publication last year of the DigitalCity – Catalyst for Growth vision, which laid out a five-point plan for the region to be known for its leading digital business cluster and the superior digital capability of its businesses.
DigitalCity is led by Teesside University in partnership with the Tees Valley Combined Authority and part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
It was recently acknowledged as one of the key drivers of digital growth in the Tees Valley when Middlesbrough was listed in the Tech Nation 2018 report as being in the vanguard of the UK’s burgeoning digital and hi-tech economy.
It also picked up the Knowledge Exchange/ Transfer Initiative of the Year trophy at this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards (THELMAs), for the contribution of DigitalCity to economic growth in the area.
This latest report provides an update on how DigitalCity and Teesside University have been working over the past 12 months to help achieve the aims of the Catalyst for Growth report and meet the challenges posed by the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
Successful initiatives highlighted in the report include:
• Helping the Tees Valley achieve its goal of increasing start-ups by 25% by 2025: 34 teams of entrepreneurs have pitched their ideas to Launchpad FUEL with 11 entering the scheme. In 2017, 15 new DigitalCity Fellowships were awarded, a number that will grow further once the 2018 fellowships are complete.
• Increasing the number of scale-up companies which are key to economic growth: 14 companies undertaking the first DigitalCity SCALE programme have been followed by a second cohort of 14 businesses (with a third scheduled for the autumn).
• Making business more competitive through the use of digital technology: DigitalCity has helped 64 businesses across the seven Tees Valley priority sectors to improve their digital knowledge and compete more efficiently over the last 12 months.
The university is also addressing the need for more digital skills in the region. The School of Computing, Media & the Arts offers a range of courses, such as the new degree apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions, to meet the demand for roles such as web engineers.
Professor Jane Turner, pro vice-chancellor for enterprise and business engagement at Teesside University (who’s also the keynote speaker for Tees Business’ inaugural Tees Businesswomen Awards in November, pictured above), said: “As an anchor institution helping to drive economic growth through the Tees Valley it is vital that we share our knowledge and expertise to help the region’s businesses increase their digital capability.
“We are pleased that this report shows the impact of our achievements and we will continue to work closely with our partners in the private and public sectors to help the Tees Valley to succeed.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “DigitalCity’s outstanding contribution to keeping this key sector thriving is making waves across the UK. This new report highlights all of the hard work behind its rightful success.
“We’ve got a fantastic reputation in this field, with world-class developers and firms calling our region home. With DigitalCity continuing to play a vital role in our offering, Tees Valley’s digital future is bright.”
To download a copy of the report visit www.thedigitalcity.com/news/powering-business-growth-in-our-region-2018-report/